Your nose is turning red, your eyes are beginning to water, and everything is all of a sudden… very itchy. It’s a shame that the arrival of Spring can come with such annoying side-effects.
It might sound counter-intuitive to use nettle tea for allergies, seeing as for a lot of people, nettle, itself, is an allergen.
Nettle contains histamine: the exact thing that causes the kinds of allergic reactions that make some of us dread going outside in the Springtime. But there actually is some clinical research that suggests that nettle is an excellent remedy for histamine related allergies.
Are we starting to sound a little homeopathic here?
I think so. ?
Nettle, Hippocrates and the like
For some people, the concept behind homeopathy is hard to digest. Why would you use histamine, such as nettle, as an antihistamine?
Ok. That’s a valid question.
Let’s go back almost two millennia, shall we? The father of medicine himself, Hippocrates, is arguably the source of this great medicinal concept. “By similar things a disease is produced and through the application of the like is cured,” wrote Hippocrates.
This is the fundamental concept behind homeopathy. If something is capable of causing a disease, it is also capable of treating it. It’s kind of like the shaman who makes an antidote to the snake bite with the venom of the same snake.
Does it actually work?
It’s hard to say with much certainty. Psychologists believe it works on a psychological level. Some phobias are treated by exposure to the thing that is feared. Does this method always work? No. But does that mean it doesn’t work at all? No again.
Healing through desensitization
At the end of the day, allergies are the body’s way of over-reacting towards triggers in the environment; pollen being the main culprit. It triggers something almost like an autoimmune response, where inflammation is happening for what seems like no reason. There is a reason, but it’s a completely non-harmful one.
So how does it actually works, nettle tea for allergies?
Well, with homeopathic (and psychological) principles applied, it does so by desensitizing the person to histamine: the protein that causes all of that annoying itchiness and redness. Over time, the person no longer reacts to allergens (or histamine) the way they would have once.
There was a study conducted by the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Oregon, USA. The basic findings were that the response to stinging nettle as an allergy treatment was more positive than the control group. Only ever so slightly. But with homeopathy, the results are noticed over time.
A stinging cup of nettle
A cup of nettle tea doesn’t just contain histamines, though. It provides anti-inflammatory properties. The kinds of qualities that soothe the pain and swelling that comes with conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. And the same kinds of qualities that could alleviate the inflammatory response in allergic reactions, such as swollen eyes and skin.
A nettle tea doesn’t sting so bad for someone who is experiencing a cough that comes with their allergies. It’s a perfect treatment for that, too, and is often used by herbalists as a treatment for those who suffer from bronchitis.
According to homeopathic principles and folklore, nettle tea infusion is a remedy for allergies. A delicious one. Especially when it’s brewed with elderflower and chamomile.